The Fall of 1995. Anna’s Ballet Classes

Since now Anna is wondering where her older daughter got the idea of wanting to be a ballerina, I have to remind her about her ballet classes.

Here is the story. My cousin Anna is a musician, and one of her side jobs in 1996 was playing piano for ballet classes in one of the nearby schools. For my life, I can’t remember whether the lady who ran these classes was affiliated with the school, had an independent “circle,” or whatever. But she ran these ballet classes for children of different ages, and the youngest dancers were six. As an exception, she would admit children who were five and a half and were exceptionally gifted.

Let me tell you that there was some rationale behind that age limitation.

For smaller children, coordination of the movements of different parts of their bodies is challenging. Anna just turned four, and she wanted to be a ballerina :). I was trying to teach her that when asked, she has to tell that she was five and a half, but I didn’t hold much hope. My cousin suggested that we will pretend we were a little bit late and that I should push Anna into the audition room when all the children already start to repeat to movements. Then, my cousin was hoping the instructor will already like Anna and will be more willing to make an exception. She showed Anna the moves which she most likely would have to repeat during the audition, and Anna was practicing on her own, tirelessly. It was unbelievable.

We did as my cousin suggested, and everything went as planned. The instructor liked Anna, and since we were “late,” she didn’t have time to put down her name and age before the audition. And after the audition, she called Anna, hugged her, and said, ” So you are five and a half?” And thankfully, Anna nodded :).

I do not know how it could play this way, because Anna was still small for her age, and my cousin’s daughter Iya was admitted “as her daughter,” and she was also four years and two months old. But for some reason, we kept it that way until spring! Then, Vlad wanted to join Anna, and we had to reveal the truth because Vlad could not possibly behave a year older than he was :). The instructor could not believe that Anna was only four and a half, but she could not un-enroll her.

The two pictures below are from the New Year concert in December 1995. All the lower-class girls were Snowflakes. As the year was 1995, and everything was in shortage (same as during the “deficit” times in the Soviet Union), mothers had to make the Snowflakes costumes themselves.

There were no leotards in existence, nor the tutus, but be received instruction for “do it yourself.” For the top, I had to buy a white undershirt, sew-on silver garlands for Christmas trees. To make a tutu, I needed multiple layers of the cheesecloth (we were given the exact number of meters of cheesecloth we had to use). I also had to make an underskirt from the white linen sheets, because otherwise, these tutus won’t stay up, even with lots of cornstarch used! In December, we expected to have not enough heating in the buildings, so most likely something warmer had to be worn under this costume.

Iya and Anna are the first two Snowflakes 🙂
It’s almost impossible to see on that picture, but they are the first two here as well

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

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